Solutions Are Welcome!

We always have the tendency to be selective in interpreting the things so that we can create a bias which in turn help add weight-age to our opinion. It is not a good practice rather it is a kind of manipulation. Of course a knowledgeable reader will notice the bias and will not take it at face value however many people who don't give enough thought or don't have time to do that will fall for it.

Let's take this quote:

"Don’t come to me with problems, come with solutions."

There are loads of articles mainly disagreeing with quote and trying to portray that since they disagree with the quote they are better in the leader fraternity.

First of all the above statement is part of a dialogue and not a quote. This has to have a prologue and a situation. Hence no one can judge a person just because he or she uses this sentence with subordinates. We should not necessarily imagine the quote coming from a frowning manager who is trying to run away from responsibilities. Everyone uses this strategy one way or other, may be using different words or communication techniques.

In my experience the quote is only required to be used with some people in your team. I have used it many times under different situations and with different intentions. And more often than not it worked as intended for me. There are different kinds of people you come across and based on situation they need different treatments. 

Category #1: People who will never seek any help unless they have exhausted their skills and resources. For them I am going to immediately look into the problem. They have earned that credibility.

Category #2: People who have potential to face and resolve problems, however, they lack confidence. They are afraid of providing solutions and will seek help from superiors. Some people are confident however they do not think it as their responsibility or prerogative to come up with solutions. Here you need to give them confidence and/or tell them that you can and/or have to find solutions yourself. Think over the problem and suggest me couple of solutions and we can discuss them.  In this case you are actually showing trust or inculcating it in your subordinates. This may help them unleash their potential. The intent here is important than the result. 

Category #3:  People who are habitual dumpers, whiners, complaint boxes, and mostly work-shy. They will walk to your desks for petty things, seeking your help and you do help them initially. Some start taking advantage of your helpfulness trying to offload their work. Once you know their nature, obviously you cannot keep helping them. Better way is to tell them to come up with solutions. Taking this stand help reduce the frequency of such approaches. And it doesn't have any negative effects on team.

Trying to solve every problem for every subordinate may actually create problems for you. As a good leader you can use this single strategy effectively with different people with different intent to resolve many problems effectively. 


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